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Guy De Maupassant’s Vendetta

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Vendetta is a nineteenth century short prose story written by the author Guy De Maupassant. The story is about the revenge a widow takes on her son’s killer. Guy de Maupassant was briefly in the army based on the small island in the Mediterranean called Corsica which is where he based the short story of Vendetta. Guy de Maupassant was one of the cutting edge naturalist writers at the time he wrote Vendetta. Vendetta has the characteristics of a typical short story. These are: few characters singe plot, clear setting and a clear relationship between characters, plot and setting.

There is very little dialogue in Vendetta and the narrator is ‘God like’ the reason I say this is because it is narrated as if the island were a small village, looked down upon from above, and commented on. Guy de Maupassant describes the island as a ‘wild and dreary’ prospect this is because the island is not like the main land of France where society and the way of life is completely different it is barren and as he puts ‘wild’ because law and order is taken into the people’s own hands where as in France law and order is kept by the police and a punishment is decided by the courts not the victim and is also not enforced by the victim.

The story starts and ends with death. Although the death of the widow’s son, Antoine happens before the story starts, it is still much an important part of the beginning. His death is quite tragic because he was stabbed in a quarrel by a man known as Nicholas Ravolati because of gambling. The reason why being killed over gambling makes it so tragic is that no one in this world deserves to die over money no matter how much or how little is owed because after all you can not bring mortal possessions with you into the afterlife and you can.

Nicholas Ravolati fled to the island of Sardinia after the stabbing. With Antoine’s death it left the widow, Saverini with no male, family representative which was crucial for the people’s way of life in Corsica. The way people lived in Corsica was ‘an eye for an eye’ this meant that Saverini had to take revenge on her son’s killer. This was hard for her to do as she had no male in her family who could do this for her as well as the fact that she was a feeble old woman who would not be able to face the killer by herself.

The maddened animal flew at his throat. The man flew out his arms and grappled with the brute. From this you can see the savage yet effective imagery Guy de Maupassant is not only trying but putting across to the reader as they read. So, the story begins and ends with death keeping that theme of it being savage right the way through as well as the theme of the islands Corsica and Sardinia being a ‘wild and dreary prospect’.

You can tell that Guy De Maupassant was a naturalist writer because the whole of his story shows how socio-economic problems affected widow Saverini and the way she dealt with them. Overall what makes this story affective is the fact that Guy de Maupassant manages to create such a savage story of how a widow trains a tamed dog to become wild again to do her bidding on a wild and baron island and show how their lives are affected by the things they encounter from day to day, which just goes to show that anything can affect anyone in many or few different ways.

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